Construction of two miles of long-planned trails in Fullerton’s West Coyote Hills will wait a little longer until the shy midgecatcher ends its breeding season
But then, once the federally protected birds are nestling, work on the paths planned for years will go full steam ahead, officials said.
The erection of fencing and signage and the execution of some erosion control work remains to be completed along the windy trails that will run through the 72-acre Robert E. Ward Nature Preserve, Alice Loya said, Fullerton Parks and Recreation Assistant Director.
While work began late last year, some construction approvals for the completion of paths were not obtained in time to beat the midge’s breeding season, she said, which runs from late February to early August.
“They are very shy birds and they are very fragile,” she said. “So they don’t mate if there’s a lot of commotion. So, for that reason, you can’t do construction during gnatcatcher breeding season.
Hikers are also not permitted on the construction site or on any of West Coyote’s hills during the current season, but the trails are expected to be completed in the fall, when a ribbon cutting will mark the welcome. official for walkers and nature lovers, Loya said. .
Chevron-owned Pacific Coast Homes, which had previously been licensed to build up to 760 homes on the 510-acre West Coyote Hills, is building and funding work on the trail, under a promise included in a 2015 agreement between the business and the city. . Among a host of other public benefits, Chevron has agreed to build another eight miles of trails and build a $2.8 million interpretive center at the Robert Ward Nature Preserve.
The deal also opened up the option for Fullerton to purchase parcels where homes were planned to keep them as open space.
Fullerton closed escrow earlier this year on 24 acres of former oilfields, parcels that could have accommodated 76 homes. With the Chevron purchases, which were secured through private and government grants, Fullerton has now set aside 217.8 continuous acres for open space east of Gilbert Street – including the nature preserve.
To the west of Gilbert are an additional 137 acres of land that could be used for housing, and authorities have also expressed interest in purchasing these. Over 100 acres are already set aside by Chevron for open space on the west side.
It took Fullerton years to finalize the purchase of the 24 acres near the nature preserve, Loya noted, and when the deal finally closed in December, community members were eager to hit the trails. newly built buildings promised for years.
Now that it’s finally becoming a reality, she says, “residents are really excited.”